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All Money Trails Lead to Wall Street

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 07:51 By Sam Pizzigati, Institute for Policy Studies | News Analysis

How much of our income goes to Wall Street? Anthropologist David Graeber, a specialist in the study of debt, recently set out to find out how much of an average American income ends up “appropriated” by the financial industry “in the form of interest payments, fees, penalties, and service charges.”

Graebner would quickly find that no government agency is actually compiling all that exact information. But mortgage and consumer interest charges alone, he discovered from Federal Reserve data, are eating up 15 to 17 percent of average household income, and that figure doesn’t include either student loans or “penalty fees” on bank and credit card accounts.

Overall, Graebner estimates, at least one dollar of every five Americans earn is “now likely to end up in Wall Street’s coffers in one way or another.” That’s substantially more than average Americans pay in federal income tax. Maybe we need some “tax reform” on all the levies Wall Street imposes on us.

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality published by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies. toomuchonline.org


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All Money Trails Lead to Wall Street

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 07:51 By Sam Pizzigati, Institute for Policy Studies | News Analysis

How much of our income goes to Wall Street? Anthropologist David Graeber, a specialist in the study of debt, recently set out to find out how much of an average American income ends up “appropriated” by the financial industry “in the form of interest payments, fees, penalties, and service charges.”

Graebner would quickly find that no government agency is actually compiling all that exact information. But mortgage and consumer interest charges alone, he discovered from Federal Reserve data, are eating up 15 to 17 percent of average household income, and that figure doesn’t include either student loans or “penalty fees” on bank and credit card accounts.

Overall, Graebner estimates, at least one dollar of every five Americans earn is “now likely to end up in Wall Street’s coffers in one way or another.” That’s substantially more than average Americans pay in federal income tax. Maybe we need some “tax reform” on all the levies Wall Street imposes on us.

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality published by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies. toomuchonline.org


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus